Saturday, August 08, 2009

Listening to the Two-year-old

Have you ever witnessed the power of a two-year-old, or do you remember being that age yourself? Can you recall having the audacity to say NO or MINE without apology? Are you able to call on that energy today (perhaps in a slightly more adult fashion)?

Recently the voice of a two-year-old introduced itself into my journaling. I was considering how and why in some situations it takes me a very long time to say, “No. I don’t wanna.” Saying no has been a very odd thing for me to consider since I really don’t view myself as a “yes-girl” especially in terms of always doing what others want without regard to my personal well-being or preference. Still, I have recently discovered through reading Transitions that there are certain places where I naturally revert to my childhood patterns of hanging on. (Patterns that most likely developed sometime AFTER the age of two).

A few days ago I was writing in my journal and this two-year-old showed up and said "NO" and "MINE" with great authority. I wasn’t totally clear on what she meant, but I decided to try and give her a little more voice through collage. She seemed to be pointing me in a direction of letting go of others' expectations and firmly taking hold of priorities that seem better suited to me at this point in my journey.

As I have explained before in regard to collage, it is usually helpful to place boundaries on this process in the way of time, space or number of images selected, magazines used, etc. This time I chose about an inch high stack of gathered images and sorted through it – holding in mind the image of a two-year-old girl.

This is the point where process shows it is often much more important than product. (I could learn as much from the images selected and not used in the collage as I can from the collage itself.) In my stack, there were no images of girls (or few anyway). Most of the photos that captured the essence of what I was feeling were boys. Yes, boys! I found it a bit irritating since my heart was set on this little girl, but I kept after it until I had about a dozen photos in front of me. Pondering them, the words 'Sacred No' entered my thoughts. The ‘Sacred No’ is most often associated with masculine energy and boundary setting. Was it any wonder then that the images popping into my hand were male as I pondered NO and personal boundaries? There was little question in my mind that in my current discernment I need to take the hand of the 'Sacred No' and welcome it in. It is not a bad thing to say no. In fact, it may be a great gift. Hmmmm.

I apparently transition slowly when it comes to letting go of things I hold dear and consider an integral part of my growth and development. Right now however, it feels like it’s time for me to do something that is MINE and approach it with the tenacity of a two-year-old. So, what do you think? Is there an inner two-year-old inside you begging to come out and scream No! or No more! Or Not yet! Or any other version of that? Where do you need to be empowered to follow your dreams - to say MINE? I seem to be finding my power through the voice of a little person who lives inside me. How about you?

"And Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

collage by lucy 8.08.09


Dianna Woolley said...

I'm thinking about this one.......


Marisa @ Getting Back To Basics said...

There is a lot to be learned from a child. No is a powerful word and it can evoke a lot of feelings but learning how to use it effectively can be very "freeing."

kigen said...

The collage has a beautifully profound enigma in it. The little girl at the front left is blowing out candles, but with a sacred lotus there instead of a birthday cake. Nirvana means to extinguish a fire (dissolve painful attachments and desires), so the child is attaining the enlightened bliss of nirvana, when she says no, that is when she negates, or blows out the candles on the lotus. We should always feel joy when we light candles but also when we blow them out. There are many ways to heaven.

Tess said...

Your post sent me to my bookshelves to try and find something that unfortunately eludes me. I'm sure that somewhere I have the results of a survey showing how very, very early the socialisation of children begins, and how "no" is tolerated and even encouraged much more in boys, even right back at toddler age.

Personally, I think "No" is a magnificent word!

Brett said...

Nice post. My first gut was the arrogance and defiance of the 2 year old's "NO"! Going in deeper i found a more gentle "no" that spoke my Truth rather than my protest. Felt nicer and kinder. And isn't this really what the newfound passion of a 2-year old is going after but without the voice and vocabulary to express "no thank you...this is not ME and i need to be me right now."

Interestingly, I've been reading "This Hebrew Lord" by Bishop Spong (fantastic read btw). He talks about children and that being child-like (among other things) is "the child's joy and contentment to be a child in all of the exuberance and vitality of childishness."

Sometimes this involves saying "no." It also involves the child's willingness to expand his/her frontiers and become. "It is the kind of acceptance that enable us to affirm what is." When we refuse or resist "our human potential begins to decline."

Be the child...expand and embrace. This requires standing up for what is true for me. This sometimes requires the utterance of an honest "no." To be dishonest about that is to deny myself and my Divinity.

Barbara said...

I remember reading somewhere that Jesus said "no" much more often than he said "yes" to those seeking him out. May be worth checking that out ...

My favourite story, a key one for me, in Scripture is when Jesus raised Jairus' daughter. So many around her were willing to accept and "celebrate" her death. For Jesus, she was a little person who must get up, live and thrive. She became strong enough to say "no" to death.

When that little girl within is saying "no", she is at the end of her tether. It is a matter of life and death. We are wise to listen to her.

Kayce aka lucy said...

SS--still thinkin'? there are some really great comments on this one!!!

marisa--there is definitely power in using "no" wisely!! in many ways saying no opens up lots more space to say "yes"!!

kigen--i absolutely love what you have shared here. it's funny but that lotus blossom just HAD to be in the the very bottom it says "experience is better than a..." i am also very aware of the spiritual connection of the blossom. thank you so much for this (not chick noir) interpretation of the collage!!!

tess--i hope you will keep scouring those texts! but isn't that so interesting that the energy i was searching for was principally conveyed through little boys? damn patriarchy is deeply ingrained, huh?

brett--i so appreciate you bringing the male perspective here especially with your initial instinct of arrogance and defiance (i had a similar response). i love what you share from "this hebrew lord". i am not familiar with it, but will be checking it out soon.

keep talking. i'll keep listening.

barbara--i am delighted to receive those wonderful connections to jesus and jairus' daughter. what an amazing example of saying "NO" to death. we so often are willing to settle for living death. i am creating a workshop centered around the voice of a child and many/most of my participants will be christian so i really appreciate these fine examples of a God who is willing to say NO for us!!

blessings to each of you and your inner two-year-old~~~

Sue said...

Wow, how cool! I love your process of discovery that went on here. Thanks for sharing it.

Some stuff to ponder here as recently I have been dreaming about boys and I think they are the part of me that you speak about here as it resonates very much with me. One of the boys I found had feet covered in poo (mmm, yum!) which I cleaned off. After that he sat on my knee.

I'm with you, Lucy, I'm not a real "yes-girl" either, but in certain aspects I just CRUMBLE!!!

We are interesting little creatures, are we not? :) And wow, who would ever have thought it was THIS fascinating discovering what goes on in our caverns? :)

Kayce aka lucy said...

sue-- "interesting little creatures" indeed. very curious (& not surprising) that you are dreaming about little boys. sounds like maybe there's a "no" inside just waiting to spill out. (after you wipe the poo off, of course.) :-)